Awhile back, I entertained some crazy ideas. One idea was about how to get more writing time and how I could go about getting ready to tackle starting to work seriously writing something every day, or nearly every day, especially how to get back to working on my novel The Strange Blue Days of Dr. Fountainbrew. The other insane brain fart has to do with the fact that I've been really bummed about not getting back to college and getting my MFA. I realize I don't need an MFA to write or get published, since I wrote stories and got published well before I got my BA degree. My girlfriend calls my desire for the MFA my geas. It tugs at me, but what with my working more hours at my public media job and my second job as a book editor, I simply do not have time to tackle coursework for a creative writing program at the moment.
So, I've come up with some compromises. I've decided that since New Year's resolutions don't tend to work out well for me (well, do they for anyone?) that I want to make some resolutions for my birthday, which is this coming Wednesday (July 3rd).
I will make a plan to devote many more hours per week to writing, and still keep on track with my editing projects. I will need to set aside time, and plan for that time. Arrange to have myself some extra time away from the things that distract me (Facebook, anime, etc.)in order to practice the fundamentals that help one be a better writer. And the first thing that I need to learn to get better at is being more disciplined. If I don't start making myself write more every chance I get, I may as well give up, and there is no way in hell I'm gonna do that. I've already set this plan into motion, writing whenever I can get some time. In the morning before editing. On my lunch break at work. Whenever I can open my WIP folder in my Google Docs and have a moment to myself. I write. Another plan for to get more writing done is what you're reading here: blogging. I'm terrible at it, I don't mind confessing. I read the blogs of other writers and think "How the hell can they do it?" I can't think of things to blog about or when I try to write a piece for my blog, it comes out sounding awkward and stupid. But I also realize the only thing that can fix that is practice and time. So, this blog that I have not touched, in several months of Sundays, is going to get active again.
I've begun watching James Scott Bell's fiction writing course on The Great Courses and during just the first lecture I have realized some of the things I've been doing have me hitting roadblocks in my writing, as far as being more disciplined. Many writers, for instance, keep "daily" writing progress spreadsheets. With my current financial situation of needing to work two jobs to support myself, I just can't do this. I can't even manage to write everyday, so after several days of not being able to write, I get so depressed I can't even think of updating a spreadsheet with the number "0" in a daily word count column. When Bell suggested in his lecture keeping a weekly word count progress sheet, I was floored. He said to make a goal of how many words you wanted to write that week and keep track of it that way. NOW THAT sounds like something that would be doable. Of course, it would mean I still need to keep track of how many words I write per day on the days that I write but to have the main progress spreadsheet be in a weekly format would take a huge amount of pressure off of me.
As for me missing out on the coursework and feedback of an MFA program, I've decided to take up self study again, but this time around, I hope to be able to section off even more of my busy schedule to do readings from some selected books I have on the shelf and doing the exercises that I can. I hope sometime, I can convince some of my online friends to join me and put together a creative writing self-study program. If any of my friends who are reading this are interested, please message me on Facebook or email me. I'd be glad to hash out what we could do to get our creative juices flowing in a successful direction.
At a later time, I'll share some of the tools I'm using to reach my lofty goals.
This post is 811 words. Not a bad start.